Category Archives: commentary

Deep Thoughts: TdF ’14 Stage 18

Once again, Nibali makes the Tour his BITCH. And seriously, I cannot say enough about Nibali. I cannot remember a time when he was so aggressive. My memory of his Vuelta and Giro wins were more defensive, once he had the jersey. Here, he’s just toying with the competition!

  • First, some old business. Can we please talk about how great it is that Frank Schleck is showing life?? He was in the top 10, but has dropped down to 12th after today, but STILL! Makes me so, so happy to see signs of the old Frank. Now, if only Andy would follow suit… Perhaps if he sees his brother doing well, that will get him out of his funk!
  • Now back to Nibali. “Oh hai Chris. No, I don’t want a BigMac, but thanks anyway. Remember when you beat me in the Vuelta that one time? I sure do! Anyway, SEE YA!” (I mean, that’s the only reason I can think of why Nibali wouldn’t just let Horner go, who’s 39 minutes behind him!)
  • “Wow, Vinny, it was so cool how you just flew by Nieve!” “Who?” EXACTLY.
  • Also “ALL YOUR JERSEYS BELONG TO MEEEE!” not really, but I’m sure that was going through his head.
  • With all those unzipped jerseys, you get to see who wears a heart rate monitor and who doesn’t. I was surprised to see so many guys without monitors. I thought that was the ‘thing’ now!
  • Astana really is the boss this race. I’d be tempted to compare them to Sky (in the sense of controlling the race, always at the front), but Nibali is like, a million times more interesting than Wiggins!
  • All this attention Nibali is getting is making me realize how big the Tour is- he’s won two GTs, but it wasn’t until he was awesome at the Tour that people started accepting that he is actually so awesome.
  • I’ll admit that I was rooting for him to take the stage, but I did feel bad for Nieve.
  • Tejay still riding a good ride. I get the impression he doesn’t quite have enough to attack and break Pinot or Peraud, but I say being able to mark them and not lose any time is a good start!

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Deep Thoughts: TdF ’14 Stage 15

You know, I’ve never really liked Nibali’s “Shark” nickname, but I’m starting to see how it’s appropriate…

  • Look. Nibali has LOADS of time of the guy in 2nd. I mean, he has over 4 FUCKING MINUTES on Valverde in 2nd. There’s no reason for him to attack. And if he were on Team Sky he definitely wouldn’t be attacking- he’d juts be chilling, riding defensively to save his lead. But the Shark is bored. He’s bored just sitting in the peloton, waiting to see if anyone attacks him so he has someone to toy with. I mean, just look at his face when he’s climbing. BORED. So, even though he attacked yesterday and WON THE DAMN STAGE, he decided to attack again today, just to alleviate the boredom. It’s like a fun game to him, seeing how much he can make his rivals suffer. So. I’m started to appreciate his “Shark’ nickname.
  • I was hoping he wouldn’t make an effort to catch Majka. Majka had tried so hard yesterday and Nibali crushed him like a bug. So today when I saw Nibali’s gap to him was holding steady at 30 seconds, I was very happy Nibali wasn’t making a effort to chase him down- see, he’s not all shark!
  • Do you suppose when Majka heard over the radio that Nibali attacked, he heard the Jaws theme in in his head? da-DUN. da-DUN. da-DUNdaDUNdaDUN
  • I couldn’t keep the Frenchies straight today- I’m a little ashamed of that. Regardless, those 3 French young’uns are really putting on an impressive show! The French commentators were crapping themselves, watching those 3 go at it.
  • Tejay did an amazing job today, keeping up with Pinot and Bardet when they went. He wasn’t able to cross the line with them, when they started sprinting, but losing a second or two is way better than minutes!
  • Speaking of losing minutes- HAHAHAHA VALVERDE!

Deep Thoughts: TdF ’14 Stage 14

Nibali is sending a message. And that message is “Oh, you’re going to attack me? That’s cool, as long as you don’t mind me attacking you right back SO HARD your face will fall off and then I’ll go win the stage for fun. So, you know, go ahead and attack me!”

  • However happy I am that Nibali won another stage, I do kind of wish he would have let either Majka or Koening get the win. I’m often of two minds about ‘giving away the win’, but for someone who’s already got two stages AND will most likely win the overall, the win might not mean as much as someone from a smaller team or someone who’s a domestique.
  • Pretty sad to see Porte drop out the back :/ I liked him and enjoyed watching him get some time in the spotlight.
  • Tejay was pretty great today! Was impressed with his climbing and the way he stuck with Bardet. He’s now moved up to 5th!! Maybe he could move up into 3rd? But the French are strong right now- will be a battle to topple them, I think.
  • I’ve seen a little chatter on my timeline about how some people think, after seeing Nibali perform, that Froome or Contador being there wouldn’t have made a difference. I disagree to a point- who knows what could’ve been. It’s all coulda, woulda, shoulda at this point. I think fitness-wise, he’s a good match to Bert and Froome. But he would have to pit his Astana team against the super strong Sky and Saxo teams. And I’m less sure his team would have been up to battling those teams.

GC

Deep Thoughts: TdF ’14 Stage 10

My, oh my, oh my. What a game-changer today- and not in the way we all hoped 😦

  • Leading with the big news: Contador is out. As of now, there doesn’t seem to be a clear explanation as to what happened. I’ve heard broken bike and that seem confirmed, as I saw a picture. But how it broke is another story- some say pebble/gravel, others said pothole. I heard Nicholas Roche’s bike feel off the car, causing Bert to crash…! Regardless of how it happened, Contador broke his femur in that crash. What is even MORE unbelievable is that he rode 18km or so on said broken leg!
  • Who knows what is going to happen with the race now. Either a) Nibali racks up a huge lead and “cruises” to Paris or b) the other GC hopefuls will see this as their chance and attack! I’m hoping for the latter, just so the race is more exciting. Even though I want Nibali to win 😉
  • Well, something has lit a fire under J-Rod’s ass! This was the most animated I’ve seen him in AGES. Perhaps his plan all along was to lose so much time that the GC guys would let him get away to collect KOM points. “mwhaha, my plan is working!!” Tommy Voeckler tried to give him a run for his money, but Rodriguez said “I don’t THINK so, amigo.”
  • The Rodriguez decided KOM wasn’t enough (greedy bastard) and thought he’d take the stage. However, Nibali, smelling the yellow jersey in Paris was finally in his grasp, said “I don’t THINK so, amico!” He was leaving nothing to chance and rode Rodriguez down like a dog to make sure the jersey was firmly in his grasp. I had pretty mixed feelings about that, as I wanted Rodriguez to have the stage- mainly because I feel sorry for him. And you could tell Rodriguez was like, “Let’s work together and please can I have the stage?” but Nibali was all like “Ciao, bitches”.
  • It was fascinating to watch Nibali’s tactics change as the situation changed. Clearly, yesterday he was preparing himself and his team for battle against Saxo and Contador by giving up the responsibility of the yellow jersey. But the minute Contador wasn’t a threat any more, Nibali was like “MINE! GIVE IT BACK!”
  • So the race is either wide open or shut DOWN. The next few mountain stages will tell us if anyone can be a serious threat to Nibali!
  • Oh and to end on a happy note, Tejay seemed in good form! He looked good on the last climb, hanging with the group.

Ciao, bitches.

 

Deep Thoughts: Tour ’14 Stage 5

Oh my, what a day! Highs and lows, crashes and recoveries and abandons.

  • Biggest Low: Froome out 😦 For whatever reason, I’m no fan of Froome, but I felt a little teary when I saw him crash, then climb into the car. It always sucks to see a big contender pull the plug.
  • And cue the chorus of people proclaiming “Where’s Wiggo now??” In my opinion, Sky still made the right choice by not bringing Wiggo. It never works to have 2 team leaders along- and if you think Wiggins wouldn’t have forced there to be two team leaders, then you’re delusional!
  • And it looks like Sky already has a Plan B: Richie Porte. He stepped up today and is 8th overall!
  • Let’s talk for a minute about what an awesome job Jakob Fuglsang did today! He worked hard at the front to make sure Nibali stayed out of trouble AND helped Nibali gain quite a bit of time!
  • There was some chatter exclaiming how surprising it was that Nibali was doing well in the crap weather. I’m not sure where that was coming from, as I’ve always thought of Nibali as a poor weather rider- he doesn’t seem affected by any weather at all! And today was no exception.
  • And the debate rages on: should stages like this be neutralized? Tejay said something interesting in an interview– when asked if stages like this should be included, he shrugged and said “That’s for the viewers to decide”, which to me seems like an odd comment- shouldn’t the RIDERS decide what’s safe to ride in? I’d like to see more collective action by the rider, like on the 4th stage of the Giro, where the riders protested racing in crap conditions, and neutralized the first 100km. I have no idea what should have been done, but I was happy they at least took out 2 sections of cobbles- even though it wasn’t the cobbles that caused most of the crashes!
  • Speaking of Tejay and crashes- poor Tejay did crash 😦 Sad to see that happen and hopefully it won’t affect his overall performance!
  • I was a bit surprised that Sagan and Cancellara weren’t up there to contest the final sprint. What happened there? I clearly wasn’t paying close enough attention. But it seemed to me that either a) they got caught out and missed the break or b) left it too late to chase the lead group back. Either way, would have been pretty cool to see those two duke it out! And actually, I think I really wanted Fabian to win today!

 

FIRST LOOK: Garmin-Sharp 2014 Kit

Do I love it? Why yes I do! While the front of the kit is basically last year’s kit with a white band instead of a black one (a simple, classic, yet slightly boring, design), that BACK! I love the new design on the back of the kit. I really can’t put my finger on what I love about the kit, but I think it has to do with the color arrangement- the way the red pops against the white, that Cervelo “é”. It’s going to look so good on the camera. And they seem to be taking our advice of making the back more distinctive than the front- as that’s all we see in the peloton!

A+ job, Garmin!

FIRST LOOK: Lotto Belisol 2014 kit

Photo credit: here

New kit alert! Lotto Belisol has released their new kit look, with the help of their favorite model, Tosh van der Sande (he modeled their kit last year, too). Does he get the job because he’s the most attractive? Or because he’s the youngest? Anyway. I actually quite liked their old kit (pictured here). I liked the splash of yellow, the color blocking, etc. While this year’s kit is quite a makeover, I have to say I also like this version of the kit as well! I dig the retro look, I LOVE the red, I like the Belgian flag colors around the leg band and arm, and I’ve always enjoyed the Lotto logo on the leg.

I am confused as to why the back of the jersey is largely blank, since that get so much screen time during a race. But maybe they’re counting on most pictures being taken from the front as they win… Also, they have that weird stitching on the legs like the OPQS kit that makes their thighs look odd.

But overall, I quite like the kit. And the bold red will appease some of the critics who complain about the monochrome nature of the kits in the peloton!

 

Episode 58: The Doping is Back in Town

We’re back talking about all your favorite topics- doping, the UCI, Pat McQuaid!

First up, the Senate report.

We speculate on why O’Grady got so much grief for his ’98 positive over the others who were revealed as positive in the report. We discuss the other type of omerta that still exists in cycling – doping methods and networks.

Also, how and when do cycling fans move on? Who is at fault for all headlines that focus on doping – the journalists or the fans who click on the links?

Then, we talk about Pat McQuaid’s slow decent into crazy-town

And we demonstrate that we are bad at math.

We also talk a little bit about actual racing, when we talk about team transfers! Jeff rechristens it “Schleck Trek” and sings a little ditty.

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Pelotonitis Shorts: RAGBRAI

ragbraiAfter a small hiatus that saw Anna going back to Iowa for RAGBRAI, we get back into the swing of things with a special mini-cast talking about Anna’s adventures at RAGBRAI!

If you don’t know what RAGBRAI (The Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa), this podcast explains what it is and how it works.

Official site

Anna’s Flickr pictures

 

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10 Tips to Make You Awesome at Fantasy Cycling

The winner of the Giro road.cc Pelotonitis Podcast league, Neil Godfrey (@NeilSG83), was a rock star- he stayed in 1st place pretty much the whole race! As a fantasy newbie, I was spent a lot of the game in the learning curve. We were anxious for some #pro tips and Neil generously obliged us! 

In Neil’s own words, here are 10 tips to make you awesome at fantasy cycling:

“1) 1st stage – Pay extra attention to stage 1 in a race; it is an opportunity to score a lot of points because the highest finishers in the 1st stage will also fill the top positions in the General Classification and points competition.

2) Stage profiles – Look closely at the final 20/30kms where a successful attack might be launched. Also, look at the gradient of the final kilometre. Try to match the profiles with your knowledge of similar finishes. Profiles can usually be found on a race’s official website.

3) Plan ahead – When picking a team don’t just look at the next stage. For example, picking a team full of sprinters for a flat stage is no good if the stage after it is a time trial or a summit finish, especially in a game with only 2 transfers available per stage.

4) Previous results – Looking at the results of a race from past years can be very useful for the classics where the route changes little from year to year. Riders suited to the course repeatedly finish in the top 10.

5) Form – Pick riders that have recently performed well. A good example recently is Carlos Betancur who did well in the Ardennes classic and then went on to get very good results in the Giro. Don’t pick a rider just because he is a “star” if you are unsure about his form.
 
6) Breakaways – Having a rider from your team in a breakaway during mountain stages is important as they can score by gaining KOM points. In some races it’s hard to know who will get into a break. Pick a rider that looks like they are trying to win the KOM jersey as they will get into as many breaks as possible and fight for the points available.

7) Don’t play safe – In the Road.cc game points can be scored by riders doing well in the various jersey competitions, however the big points are scored at stage finishes and in mountain breakaways. Don’t keep an expensive rider in your team just because he holds one of the jerseys. It will leave you with fewer credits to pick possible stage winners. 

8) Look for bargains – Road.cc base a rider’s value on the last 12 months’ results. Riders returning from long term illness or injury (or a doping suspension) will have lower values. Picking these riders is a small risk, but can bring rewards if they rediscover old form. Neo-pros are also usually valued lower. You can easily find the talented ones with a bit of research.   

9) Research – For more obsessive players the internet is a fantastic resource for finding out past results; possible race tactics and race predictions by experts. Also, watch lots of races to build up your knowledge of riders and their strengths and weaknesses.

10) Lead-out riders – If on a sprint stage you can’t afford all the sprinters you want try choosing a lead-out rider for one of the top sprinters. These riders won’t win, but often finish in the top 20, so pick up a some points & they also score points if their team mate wins.

Some extra tips would be to use the game to enjoy watching cycling more and to learn more about it. Taking part in a fantasy game has meant I have learnt about riders I didn’t know before and have followed races and tactics more closely. It’s also great for people like me who don’t have many favourite riders or teams as it gives me a new set of riders to look out for and cheer for every stage.”

Thanks, Neil! Hopefully these tips will bring me great success and I can continue to beat Jeff ;0)

Join our fantasy leagues at road.cc (76730) and Velogames (23164933)!